Abel Yeager is dead broke, down on his luck, and suffering from a serious case of what-the-hell-does-it-matter. His transition from active Marine to stateside long-haul trucker hit a wicked speed bump when his rig was involved in a wreck that claimed the life of a pregnant woman and laid him up for several months.
Back at work but deeply in debt, Yeager meets bookstore owner Charlie Buchanan in St. Louis and jumps at the chance to haul a load of remainder books to Austin for her. On the way south, a crew of truck thieves tracks his every move. But none of them know what Charlie’s ex has smuggled inside the book pallets, who he stole it from, or how far the owner will go to get it back. Charlie’s the first person Yeager has cared about in a long time, but as their bond deepens, so does the danger they’re in.
With enemy forces closing in, Yeager battles greed, corruption, and his own fatalism in a bid to hold true to Yeager’s First Law: come home at the end of the day.
A little about Scott first:
Scott Bell holds a degree in Criminal Justice from North Texas State University, and has enjoyed careers in both asset protection as well as sales. With the kids grown and time on his hands, Scott turned back to his first love—writing.
His short story, Mitchellsville is published in The Western Online. Dave’s Aliens is in the anthology Person Suit. Government Waste is in the anthology, Desolation, and Mr. Scampers War is published in episode 82 of Cast of Wonders.
Sherry’s Review: 5 Stars
Scott Bell hit it out of the park! Five out of five stars from me!
This is the first book I read by Scott Bell, and I loved it! The cover is mysterious and intrigued me enough to open to the first page. My father is a retired truck-diver, so I couldn’t resist the urge to see if Mr. Bell knows big rigs. I am pleased t announce he put me back in the passenger’s seat of my father’s Kenworth.
My favorite genre to read is romance not guns blazing, bombs exploding, and good guys saving the world from the bad guys unless there is some romance thrown in – but – I loved this action-packed, adventurous, thrilling, mysterious, suspenseful book. It had me on the edge of my chair from word one.
I couldn’t put Yeager’s Law down! Able Yeager is just my kind of hunk-a-hunk of burnin’ love and he doesn’t even know it. Scott’s ability to weave together multiple character’s stories and situations into one knock-out book is beyond compare. All the characters are well-rounded and feel like they could be real people.
Scott knows his weaponry. Anyone who loves to read about tactile military stuff will love Yeager’s Law, and Scott has the skills to seamlessly show all the details that add to the suspense with ease.
I strongly recommend this book to everyone. I don’t care what you always read, give this book a try then come back and tell me what you think.
First Chapter – for discussion:
Near Judsonia, NE Arkansas
Two hours after dawn, at the wheel of his Peterbilt, Abel Yeager glanced at the fuel gauge. His frown turned into a deep scowl. Maybe it’s just kidding. He tapped the gauge with a blunt finger, as if he thumped it hard enough, fifty gallons of diesel would reappear. Instead, the needle sank closer to E.
He shook the last two antacid tablets from the family-sized bottle he kept in the center console and crunched the cherry-flavored chalk. If Tums had nutritional value, he would never have to stop for food again.
Yeager did the math. Again. He would need to refuel before Chicago. After that, he could either hang around the terminal looking for a load, or dead-head back to McAllen, making at least one more fuel stop along the way. Another chance at plasticide, playing Russian Roulette with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. He maybe had one more attempt at a balance transfer before they caught on to his bill shuffling.
Traffic had thinned the farther he got from Little Rock. A black Lexus was pacing him in his rearview mirror. The driver hung back at a steady half-mile distance, not passing, not pulling off, and not falling back. It itched like a bug bite that was just out of reach. Probably nothing more than a civilian who happened to be going the same way. That happened sometimes on long stretches of Interstate.
Nothing to get your panties in a bunch over. Yeager twisted his neck, making it crackle, and decided it was time for a pit stop.
He pulled his rig into a rest area on US Highway 67 outside of Judsonia, Arkansas. A block building stuck on the edge of a soybean field, with state-maintained toilets and concrete picnic benches, was flanked by parking lots for trucks on one side, cars on the other. He had the place to himself at eight o’clock on a Monday morning.
He grabbed a dog-eared copy of Field & Stream, locked the cab, and headed for the john. A mild June breeze ruffled the soybean fields that stretched as far as a rifle shot across the red clay soil to a distant tree line. A rabbit bolted from the mown grass of the rest area and bounded into the field, white tail flashing.
Yeager paused to watch it. We’re hunting wabbits. A kid in his old platoon, Sonny, could imitate Elmer Fudd as if channeling the spirit of Mel Blanc. Platoon C, sweating, tired, and edgy, would be on the trail of some Taliban bad guys deep in Indian country, then Sonny would turn around and whisper, “Be vewy, vewy quiet. We’re hunting Tawwiban. Heheheheheh.” The guys would crack up.
The New Jersey boy had stayed in Southern California after mustering out. He, his wife, and two kids shared a three-bedroom bungalow with his brother.
Sonny had called him last week and said, “Yo, Staff Sergeant, you’ll never guess. I got a job.”
“What? Hey, that’s great.”
“Yeah, I’m a route man for the Bud distributor. I drive around with cases and cases of beer, man. Can you believe it? Beer, beer everywhere and I don’t even drink.”
“That’s good news, Sonny. Glad to hear it. Don’t make the mistake I did and buy your own truck, amigo. It ain’t worth the hassle.”
After a long pause, Sonny cleared his throat. “Ah…”
“Spit it out, Private.”
“It’s about the money, Staff Sergeant.”
“Yeah, funny. Look, man, I’ll pay you back.”
“Bullshit you will,” Yeager said. “What you’re gonna do is go into HR tomorrow and start taking out ten percent—not five, not eight, but ten percent—of your pay, and you’re gonna put that in a college fund for your yard monkeys.”
“Did you just use the word ‘but’ with me, Private? Did I hear that come out of your mouth? Because if I did, you know I’ll reach through this phone and rip your lungs out through your mouth. You feelin’ me, Marine?”
“Yes, Staff Sergeant.”
“Good. Now give Maria a kiss from me, and go do what I say.”
“Aye-aye, Staff Sergeant.”
Pushing open the door to the restroom, Yeager cracked a tiny smile and sent Sonny a silent prayer of goodwill.
The black Lexus glided into the rest area and purred to a stop behind the dumpsters, concealed from the big rig.
“Yes, Jaime, mi hijo,” Humberto Cruz said. “You know what to do?”
“Julio, back him up. Hector, stay here and keep an eye out. You have your tire iron?”
Hector nodded and slapped the length of iron bar into one hand. Cruz had seen him use it once. From what he could tell, Hector had enjoyed the experience.
Car doors thudded, and Cruz watched the team go to work. Several times, he had considered telling them his real objective, but in the end, he’d decided to keep that to himself. Sharing family business with a bunch of kids seemed… unworthy.
Those three were all he had available. Talent was hard to find with the cartels ratcheting up the pressure for shooters. Getting men who wanted to train for something as simple as hijacking wasn’t easy.
Jaime practically skipped toward the target.
Cruz smiled. To be so young… He shut off the engine, climbed out of the car, and stretched his aching back.
Jaime went to work on the truck’s door while Julio kept watch. They moved quickly, and Cruz nodded in approval. In a minute, maybe less, they would have the truck, leaving Señor Yeager without a livelihood.
Cruz sneered as an American phrase popped into his head. Payback’s a bitch.
Yeager washed his hands and face with the pinkish soap from the dispenser. In the mirror over the sink, he saw a man he hardly recognized. Tiny crow’s feet attacked the corners of his eyes. Sad eyes, women said, on those rare occasions when a woman had gotten close enough to comment on them. To him, they simply looked bloodshot and tired, more defeated than sad.
He dried off with a wad of paper towels, headed outside, and followed the concrete path back to his truck. A slim Hispanic kid was leaning against the fender.
Where’d he come from? Yeager spared a quick glance around. The parking area remained vacant, aside from his truck. A sparkling green quilt backdrop lay across the surrounding fields, the dew not yet burned off.
The guy wore jeans, cowboy boots, and an untucked Western shirt. Though his hair was cut high in the back, a long chunk of it fell over his forehead. The boy had to keep flipping it out of his eyes with a head toss.
He’s gonna ask for a handout. One of those come-ons like: Hey, can you lend me a dollar for the bus, so I can get back home. A scam. It’s always a scam. Yeager sighed and patted his pockets to see if he had any change.
Hairflip whistled through his teeth, and another Mexican kid barely old enough to shave popped his head up from behind the rig’s steering wheel.
What the hell? I locked the cab. Yeager stalked closer, throttling his temper. Maybe they weren’t trying to steal his truck. Maybe it was all a big mistake. Sure. And chocolate milk comes from brown cows.
Too often lately, anger simmered near the surface. Not much feeling remained in the black hole where his heart had once lived, other than a pulsar of annoyance and bitterness that flared when he was upset. Like matter collapsing into the gravity well of a dead star, every other emotion had been crushed, condensed, and compressed by an unending implosion of bad luck and trouble. Divorce. The wreck. Six months of physical therapy. One damn thing after another.
Law Number Eight: Never fight angry.
Well. Fuck that. “You boys lost?” Yeager smiled, jaw clenched. “You needing a ride?”
A growling rig climbed the rise on US 67, downshifted, and rattled off into the distance. The breeze carried the scent of compost and diesel.
Hairflip held up his hand in a stop gesture. He strutted over and jabbed that hand into Yeager’s chest, fingers spread. A lava flow of irritation bubbled from Yeager’s belly.
The one in the cab had a ragged caterpillar of a mustache, and his gelled hair made him look like a teenage maître d’. His eyes peeping over the top of the steering wheel were as big as hubcaps.
Hairflip shook his head. “Señor, is best you go.”
“Can’t do that, amigo.”
The puffed-up little delinquent tried a tough look, but his response came out petulant. “Go! We are taking this truck, Señor. Go away, and you will not get hurt.”
Yeager snapped the boy’s hand into a wristlock and took him down to one knee. “Now, son, I need this here truck. I borrow it every month from the bank, and they’d be upset, I was to lose it. You boys can walk away from this. Just nod your head if you understand.”
The kid’s mouth opened, and his eyes widened as he squirmed, trying to ease the pressure on his wrist, but Yeager had a solid grip. Yeager twisted the thief’s hand back until the wrist turned white. He let out a breath and held short of the breaking point. Another half-ounce would do it. A tweak, really. Yeager grimaced and eased the pressure, gaining control of the bubbling little flare of hot violence.
The young hijacker in the cab scrambled down like a kid on a jungle gym. He hit the ground and dug into his waistband.
Law Number Six. Do something. Right or wrong, do something, and do it fast.
Yaeger hit Hairflip with the force of a diesel piston firing, clubbing him with an iron fist framed by heavy bone and ridged with calluses. Something cracked in the punk’s face, and he tumbled down, eyes rolling back in his head.
Yeager stepped over him and closed on the other kid, bull fast. He had another gear when it came to hand-to-hand combat. He shifted from DEFCON 2 to Wrath of God mode.
The boy’s mouth flew open with a startled squawk. He scrambled back, whipping out a lock-blade knife with four inches of wicked-sharp steel. He flashed the blade—a poor man’s Zorro sword—and rattled off something in Spanish. The kid lunged, stabbing at Yeager’s belly. Yeager deflected the blade and snared the kid’s wrist, inverting the knife-arm. Using his right hand like an ax, he chopped the back of the kid’s elbow.
The arm made a wet, popping sound, like a turkey being torn up at Thanksgiving dinner. Screaming, the kid dropped the knife. He folded over, cradling his broken arm, and yammered away in Spanish, bawling and screeching.
Sounds a lot like my ex-wife. Knows some of the same words, too. Yeager kicked the knife, sending it skittering under the truck.
Footsteps scuffed behind him, and he pivoted. A third guy rushed around the front of the Peterbilt, a tire iron cocked, set to take off Yeager’s head. Older and bigger, the new attacker had deep-set eyes and a mat of black hair cropped tight to his skull.
The pure, blazing-hot joy of action flared in Yeager’s belly. Like the cool crust over a lake of boiling magma, his shell of indifference cracked, and golden warmth poured out. Fighting was something he could do. That, he understood.
Yeager ducked, and the metal bar whooshed past his ear. He came up into the big guy’s middle with an uppercut that took the wind out of his attacker. Bad breath exploded in a huff, and the bigger thief staggered, face already turning red.
Yeager stepped back and measured off a right cross that rocked the guy back on his heels, sending the tire iron ringing off the pavement. The thief shook his head like a wounded bull. Yeager kicked him in the crotch then slammed both palms over the big man’s ears. The guy dropped to the ground, one hand over an ear, the other cupping his balls.
Yeager sucked in a deep breath. Not many years ago, a fight like this would have been a good warm-up. Not anymore. He felt as if he’d run up a hill at Camp Pendleton with a full rucksack. He threw the tire iron into the field and stepped toward his truck to retrieve his cell phone. Calling the cops would result in a monumental loss of road time, but hijackers were bad for business. Getting those guys locked up might make the road safer for another trucker.
Pay it forward: Beat the crap out of hijackers.
With a screech of brakes, a shiny black Lexus slammed to a stop one space away from Yeager’s vehicle. A guy hopped out of the driver’s side and made his way around the front of the car. He was an older man, maybe in his sixties, with a shock of thick white hair gelled back. The guy wore a white Guayabera shirt with black slacks and shiny black shoes.
He also held a blue-steel semi-automatic pistol pointed right at Yeager.
I effortlessly fell right into this story. The writing is extremely well done , all aspects of it from characterization to the settings to the plot to the pace and everything in-between.
I love the way Scott sucked me into the story, and made me care about Yeager right away. The writing does that. The description is just enough to put me at the rest stop, and he weaved in more than one point of view character with style when we went into the head of the bad guy.
Then he brought us effortlessly back into Yeager’s head. I laughed out loud with the name Able gave one of the bad guys, Hair Flip. Hilarious.
The fight scene had me on the edge of my seat, and now Yeager is my book boyfriend. The chapter ended on a note that made me turn the page and start chapter two.
In fact, I couldn’t put this book down. I loved every word.
How do you feel about the way the story opens? Did it grab you?
Please leave a comment on what you think of the first chapter of, Yeager’s Law below. We want to hear what you think!